Life is difficult. Everyone has a broken heart, even at Christmas. If you or someone you know is struggling with the Christmas Blues, you are not alone. Many people find this season difficult in spite of the messages of love, hope, joy and peace. Here are a few things I have learned from counselors and from being a pastor over the years.
1. Manage Expectations: If you know you are not feeling well, allow yourself to rest. If the last five visits to the in-laws have ended in tears after four hours, leave in three! Pay attention to patterns of behavior, patterns of conflict and manage what is realistic. It makes little sense to me to see so many young families traveling to multiple homes with car seats, toys, snacks and worn out parents. It is okay and acceptable to invite others to your home for an agreed period of time in an environment that is prepared for little ones.

It is not realistic to think, “This is going to be the best Christmas ever!” every year. Do you hear how crazy that sounds? Maybe have the best Christmas you’ve ever had once a decade or so and just enjoy the other nine with family and friends without the pressure. I really think Jesus is okay with you resting. If Jesus had one word for many Christians this year, I think it might be “relax.”

2. Care for Your Body: If you have a bad back, don’t sleep on Grandma’s pullout sleeper sofa. Pay attention to your health. Bundle up and take a walk outside. Get adequate sleep. Eat sensibly so you don’t have the sugar crash or feel lousy from over consumption. Make a plan with a partner to enjoy the time by eating a little of the things you enjoy and then walk them off and feel great about it.

3. Worship and Service: If you want to honor Jesus on His birthday, do the things Jesus did. Give praise to God, read scripture, help and serve those around you. On the last night of Jesus’ life, He picked up a towel and did the lowliest task available that night; He washed feet because it needed to be done. God humbled Himself in the form of a human servant and taught us that if we are to follow Him, we are to do the same.

On the first night of Jesus’ life, the angels sang and gave praise to God. “Glory to God in the highest heaven! On earth good will to all!” Even if we don’t yet feel like it, there is something miraculous and uplifting about gathering with others to give thanks to God in all circumstances.

Finally friends, remember the best part of all… because of Christmas, we are not alone! Jesus is with us. He is Emmanuel. God with us!

Merry Christmas,
Pastor Mark

Dr. Mark Foster

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